05 Dec Director’s Blog – Dec 2019
Is there room in your “inn” for Jesus this Christmas?
Christmas is by far, one of the busiest times of the year. Hopefully, for your family, it is one of the most wonderful times of year (as the song goes).
But…is your Christmas truly Jesus centered and family focused? Or do you finally remember what Christmas is all about while you’re cleaning up the hurricane of the Christmas after math?
I have often found myself feeling that twinge of regret late Christmas night when my heart feels a little void. I intended to really connect with Christ and to make the holiday activities spiritually meaningful. But, especially in my younger years with my busy family life, I let all the busyness take over and I didn’t really take time to focus on Jesus and thank Him for coming as I desired to.
I encourage you take time before Christmas to think about ways to make Jesus and intentional family time the focus this year. Begin establishing Christmas traditions that your children will remember throughout their lives. Besides honoring Jesus in your festivities, fun traditions offer numerous benefits to children…
- Traditions play an important role in shaping a child’s personal identity. Research has found that children who have an intimate knowledge of their family’s history are typically more well-adjusted and self-confident than children who don’t.
- Traditions strengthen the family bond. Researchers have consistently found that families that engage in frequent traditions report stronger connection and unity than families that haven’t established rituals together.
- Traditions offer comfort and security. Family traditions and rituals are the antidote to the harried feeling that comes from our fast-paced and ever-changing world. It’s comforting to have a few constants in your life.
- Traditions teach values. Through daily family prayer, the importance of faith is re-enforced; through nightly bedtime stories, the value of education, reading, and life-long learning is inculcated; and through regular family dinners or activities, the family as an important foundation is instilled.
Family traditions are great and so important to keep going each year! Here are some traditions you might consider for your family this Christmas:
- Instead of candy in the Advent Calendar, write notes each day about what you love the most about each child.
- Turn your Elf on a Shelf into a Kindness Elf that helps around the house and notices when your kids do considerate things.
- Take your kids shopping for a toy to donate during the Christmas season.
- Write a yearly letter to your kids and put it in a clear plastic refillable ornament.
- Have a camp out one night under the Christmas tree.
- Make a red and green paper gratitude chain. Each night leading up to Christmas, each person writes what they are grateful for and adds it to the chain.
- Have your children make gift coupons for people in the family (e.g. this coupon is good for one complimentary room cleaning).
- Hide a baby Jesus from a Nativity set and let your children find Him on Christmas morning or make it a fun activity each day before Christmas!
- Take time on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning to read the gospel passages as a family. From Luke 1:5-56 through 2:1:20.
- Get the whole family involved and act out the nativity story with props from around your house.
- Buy small Dollar Store gift boxes. Have each family member give Jesus a “present.” For children, it could be to be more helpful to their baby siblings, or to share with friends at preschool. Write the description of the present on a piece of paper and wrap it in a box. Lay it by your nativity scene or place it on the tree to read on Christmas Day.
Last but NOT least…
Give Jesus one very special gift just from you to Him. Let this be a gift that no one else needs to know about, and let it be a sacrifice. David said in 2 Samuel 24 that he would not offer a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing. Maybe your gift to God will be to forgive someone you’ve needed to forgive for a long time. Maybe your gift will be to spend time with God or perhaps give more to the poor out of your abundance. You may discover that you’ve given a gift back to yourself!
Whatever fills and awakens you and your children’s souls, DO IT this Christmas! Start now and be intentional to bring Jesus and meaningful family time back into Christmas! By doing so, you will have given your family the best possible gift of all!
In Jesus’ hope, joy and peace!
Teresa Brophy, Director